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Maine Minister, Convicted of Assault, Claims ‘Asylum’ in Church

December 8, 1986

LEE, Maine (AP) _ A minister convicted of assaulting the foster mother of a teen-ager in his congregation said Monday he had taken asylum in his church and would not voluntarily go to jail to complete his sentence of six months and one day.

″They’ll have to carry me out of here,″ said the Rev. Daniel Dunphy, the fundamentalist pastor of Lee Baptist Church, whose appeal was rejected Friday by the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

But Dunphy, while still professing his innocence, said he would not resist if police come to take him into custody.

″I’m not going to shoot nobody,″ he said. ″This is totally non- violent.″

District Attorney R. Christopher Almy said Dunphy, who spent seven days in Penobscot County Jail in Bangor before being released on $500 bail pending his appeal, will be taken into custody if he does not turn himself in. But ″how, when or where ... is something we’re not going to discuss publicly.″

″This is a very delicate situation, and we’re doing everything we can to minimize the chances of violence,″ the prosecutor said.

Dunphy was convicted last February of assaulting Christine Thurston, foster mother to Sheila Crooker, a 16-year-old member of Dunphy’s church. Dunphy had gone to the Thurston home to help the girl leave. During a scuffle, he threw the woman to the ground, which led to the assault charge.

Several months later, men wielding logging chains and pipes burst into Dunphy’s church during a Sunday night service. A fight broke out and those who started the melee were arrested. Three men, including Sheila Crooker’s father, received jail terms.

In addition, Dunphy is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of assault and criminal mischief in an Easter Sunday fracas outside the church. Dunphy got into a fight with some youths who had raised the volume of a car radio while they were playing softball in a park near the church.

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